The world is huddling under the heavy gray cloud of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime. States are bankrupt. Workers elsewhere have lost jobs, faced reduced salaries and shortened workweeks.
Meanwhile under our sunny skies in our own private Paradise, no such things have taken place in the public sector.
And although businesses have had to close during this crunch time, many were running on empty in the first place.
All indicators have shown for the last few years that tourism in the territory has suffered little from the otherwise devastating consequences of the great banking bamboozle of the second millennium.
However, the downturn is catching up. Also catching up are the years of uncollected property taxes and even more years of other uncollected sacred cow taxes – those owed by influential business people, government workers and “true” Virgin Islanders.
Many more millions have been lost for lack of the guts to face and take down towering icons of public corruption and greed.
So, as a community, we have been asked to sacrifice a bit ... as millions of others across the globe have been doing for the last several years.
What are we being asked to do?
– Give up a couple of paid holidays (holidays that no one in the United States gets);
– Pay an additional 1 percent in gross receipts tax; and
– Lay off 600 employees out of 10,000.
Seems everyone has a problem with one of those things.
The privateers say, “Oh Lordie,” taking a page out of the Fox News playbook by shamelessly recasting a 1-percentage point increase as a “25-percent increase in gross receipts!”
Meanwhile government workers can’t face life with one less paid holiday out of a dozen.
And the Legislature, which has naysayed every sane proposal to raise funds to fill in the deficit, stands on its soapbox proclaiming its loyalty to those 600 constituents while some of our “honored” senators do nothing all day except pay back favors and calculate how they will win reelection.
Too bad they can’t be laid off.
Sacrifice builds character ... something we sorely need more of.
It really is time for each and every one of us to stop whining and pay up. We’ve played, God knows, and now we must each pay a very small price to stay afloat on the balmy turquoise waters of our home.
It is time for the common good to be considered. Otherwise we all go down together in the looming storm.